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Walton county cracks down on underage drinking this Spring Break

Many major schools are on Spring Break, and the Florida Panhandle's white sand beaches draw thousands to the Emerald Coast every year.

Walton county has seen its share of those on break increase over the past few years.
They're also seen the problems brought by those students rise.
The Walton County Sheriff's Office has come up with a plan to curb those issues.      

Channel Three's Rob Brown has more on what they're doing, and how it's worked so far.

Walton County has become one of Florida's most popular Spring Break attractions. The Walton County Sheriff's Office says with increased numbers of visitors, extra steps are being taken for safety.

The goal is to eliminate underage drinking, and all the problems that go with it.
Instead of just citations, underage drinkers will now be immediately arrested.

Lt. Keith Chamblee "We noticed that the Notice to Appears trended up from 2012-2013, so it didn't appear like they were working like we wanted them to. So now we're going to physical arrests."

Minors caught drinking will be taken to Walton County Jail and issued bond.
If they can't pay it, they'll stay until a court date.
Deputies have established a substation across the street from the beach, and say they're approaching 100 arrests since their operation began last weekend.

Kyle Duffy "Every time we come down here there's at least four or five kids under that tent getting arrested. Every time we walk by. So they're making consistent arrests every day."

According to the Walton County Sheriff's Facebook page, there were a record-breaking 72 arrests on Sunday alone.
Some Spring Breakers say the police presence might make them consider a new destination in the future.

Kyle Duffy "Absolutely. We came down here just to have a good time, and it's a little worrisome when you walk out of your apartment and you see cops waiting for you."

We talked to many locals who said the extra force is unnecessary.

Tom Kline "They're going to drink and there's going to be a few outliers. But it's not the norm. The kids are polite, they're helpful, they're courteous. I appreciate them. Vicariously, I'm having a good time, too."

The Sheriff's Department says their goal isn't to end the Spring Break party, only to make it safer for everyone involved. In Walton county, Rob Brown, Channel Three News."